Surprises, Take-Aways, and Trends: Playbill Breaks Down the 2024 Tony Award Nominations | Playbill

Tony Awards Surprises, Take-Aways, and Trends: Playbill Breaks Down the 2024 Tony Award Nominations

From history-making years for female directors, plays, and more, we're analyzing this year's nominations for Broadway's top honors.

It's Broadway's (second) biggest day: The 2024 Tony nominations are out. Hell's Kitchen and Stereophonic are the season's most-nominated productions with 13 nominations each, with The Outsiders coming in a close third with 12. See the full list of nominees here.

Playbill's writers and editors have seen every single show on Broadway, making us well-equipped to spot trends, factoids, and surprises from this year's crop of nominees. Here's what stood out to us.

Company of Stereophonic Julieta Cervantes

History in the Making

With an incredibly 13 nominations, Stereophonic is officially the most Tony-nominated play in Broadway history, beating previous title holder Slave Play's 12 nods for the 2019 Tonys. It's unusual that this record is happening in 2024—we've certainly seen plays be successful and sweep design and performance categories. What made Stereophonic so unusual and now history-making is the amount of nominations it got for its cast. The show utterly dominated the Best Featured Actor and Actress in a Play categories, with Will Brill, Eli Gelb, Tom Pecinka, Juliana Canfield, and Sarah Pidgeon all taking home nominations. For those of you keeping track at home, that is all but two of their cast members. As the band skyrockets to fame in the play, so too are the artists responsible for bringing this play to the stage (and we're sure it helps, from the Tony nominators perspective, that these actors play instruments, sing, and/or operate a sound board live on stage).

Notably, the play could also become the most Tony-winning play in Broadway history. The work will have to win at least seven awards to match current record holder The Coast of Utopia. But Stereophonic has the chance to win in 10 separate categories so we can say its odds are good. Let the rock show,Tony Awards campaign begin!

Whitney White Michaelah Reynolds

It’s a Feminomenon

For the first time, both directing categories feature more female directors than male amongst the nominees. This makes sense statistically, although some were concerned it wouldn’t play out. The 2023-2024 season has seen the most female directors on Broadway ever, with 16 of the 39 plays and musicals featuring a woman at the helm. That was reflected in the directing categories. In the Best Direction of a Musical category, four of the five nominees are women: Maria Friedman for Merrily We Roll Along, Leigh Silverman for Suffs, Jessica Stone for Water for Elephants,and Danya Taymor for The Outsiders. In the Best Direction of a Play category, three of the five nominees are women: Anne Kauffman for Mary Jane, Lila Neugebauer for Appropriate, and Whitney White for Jaja’s African Hair Braiding.

This is the most number of female directors that have been nominated for a Tony ever (the previous record was four nominees in 2022). 

While the industry still has a ways to go in terms of equal representation and support, this is a huge moment for statistics nerds, and those that have been fighting to allow women a seat at the table. To learn more, read our report on female theatre makers this season.

Amy Ryan Tricia Baron

Last-Minute Casting Ends With a Tony Nomination

Tony-winning shows and performances are often in the works for years, with artists honing their work carefully for months before getting in front of Tony nominators. Not so with Roundabout Theatre Company's Doubt, and more specifically its star, Amy Ryan.

The Only Murders in the Building and The Office actor famously got the call to play Sister Aloysius in the Broadway revival just days before her first performance, after the production's original star, Tyne Daly, had to withdraw following an unexpected hospitalization. But apparently Ryan not only learned her lines fast—she quickly whipped up a now-Tony nominated performance! Of course, Ryan had been preparing for this moment her entire career, even if she didn't know she'd be starring in this particular title until the last minute. A skilled actor with many stage and screen roles to her name, this is now Ryan's third Tony nomination, following nods in the Featured Actress in a Play category for 2000's Uncle Vanya and 2005's A Streetcar Named Desire—both, it bears mentioning, also Roundabout Theatre Company productions!

Alison Luff, Olive Ross-Kline, and Adam Jacobs Matthew Murphy and Evan Zimmerman

A New Vibration

The Who's Tommy was a sensation when it first came to Broadway. First written in 1967 as a rock opera by The Who, the musical adaptation first arrived on Broadway in 1993, winning five Tony Awards and introducing the Broadway industry to Michael Cerveris, who got his first Tony nomination for Tommy (he didn't win but it was the start to a two-time Tony-winning career). This time around, the new revival received a single nomination, for Best Revival of a Musical. Historically, when productions have only brought in one nomination for Best Revival, they have not taken home the top prize, but patterns are made to be broken! Will love for the production coalesce together to bring home the win? Stay tuned.

Gayle Rankin, Eddie Redmayne, and company of Cabaret Marc Brenner

Critics Beg to Differ

This year's Tony nominations provide an excellent reminder that all art is subjective, and reviews are only ever one person's opinion. That was especially clear in the Leading Actor and Actress in a Musical nominations for Cabaret stars Eddie Redmayne and Gayle Rankin (respectively), two performances that received decidedly mixed reviews from several critics. Of course, we already knew those takes may have been out of step with others. Redmayne's performance won the screen star an Olivier Award in 2022, and both have been selling out the August Wilson Theatre since the production began previews earlier this month. In other words, while reviews are certainly valid commentary on the season's newest shows, never be afraid to respectfully disagree. The Tony Awards nominating committee certainly decided to this year!

Arielle Jacobs and the cast of Here Lies Love Billy Bustamante, Matthew Murphy, and Evan Zimmerman

Don’t Inscribe Their Name in Stone

Here Lies Love may have been one of the first shows to open and close this Broadway season, but the David Byrne-Fatboy Slim musical isn’t in the grave yet! Of the shows that closed before nomination day, Here Lies Love had the strongest showing, taking in more nods than many other currently running productions. The show brought home four nominations, including Best Scenic Design of a Musical, Best Sound Design of a Musical, Best Choreography, and Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre. The immersive musical followed former Filipina First Lady Imelda Marcos' astonishing rise to power and subsequent fall at the hands of the Philippine People Power Revolution. For those who want to dance to the score at home, the cast album for the Off-Broadway production is available to stream.

Maleah Joi Moon and the company of Hell's Kitchen Marc J. Franklin

So Many Front-Runners, So Few Tony Awards

If the Tony nominators liked you this year, it seems like they really liked you. We're used to seeing one or two clear front runners on nomination day, but this year was a little different. Hell's Kitchen and Stereophonic both earned 13 nominations, with The Outsiders coming in just below that with 12. And those are followed by productions that did essentially just as well, but down a category or two due to their being revivals (Cabaret got nine nominations, Appropriate got eight, and Merrily We Roll Along earned seven). This could lead to a Tony night that really spreads the love amongst the nominated productions. Or we could see productions go into the evening with a lot of nominations but end up only winning a few. We will have to wait and see. But considering nominations can be the key to selling tickets between now and June 16, I doubt any of this year's nominees will complain if they don't win.

Company of Merrily We Roll Along Matthew Murphy

Everything Old Is New—and Tony Nominated—Again

Broadway's Merrily We Roll Along earned seven Tony nominations this year, and some of them are from work that happened a surprisingly long time ago. Maria Friedman, nominated for directing the Stephen Sondheim musical's revival, first staged this exact production 12 years ago, in 2012 at London's Menier Chocolate Factory. That production transferred to London's West End, where Friedman earned an Olivier nomination for her work and the production won Best Musical Revival.

But that's nothing compared to the revival's now Tony-nominated orchestrations. After orchestrating the musical's original Broadway run in 1982, Jonathan Tunick penned the orchestrations for a dramatic revision of the score for Off-Broadway's York Theatre in 1994—an astonishing 30 years ago. Sondheim made major changes to the score that had to be addressed, but Tunick also reduced the amount of players for the markedly smaller production, from 20 to 13. While this current revival is the musical's first successful Broadway outing, its book, score, and orchestration revisions all originate from that 1994 production—and now the 30 year-old orchestration is a 2024 Tony nominee. And for the record, there wasn't an orchestration category at the 1982 Tonys, so this is Tunick's first Tony nod for his work on the show.

Brittany Adebumola and Dominique Thorne in Jaja's African Hair Braiding Matthew Murphy

Gone But Not Forgotten

Traditionally, closed shows have a harder time garnering Tony nominations. As more and more shows shove their way into opening at the last minute before the nomination cutoff, recency bias can play out, leaving closed shows a cherished memory. This year, the Tonys made sure to remember productions gone by, with Purlie Victorious: A Non-Confederate Romp Through the Cotton Patch bringing in six nominations; Jaja's African Hair Braiding bringing in five; Here Lies Love bringing in four; Days of Wine and RosesDoubt: A Parable, and Prayer for the French Republic each bringing in three; Grey House, getting two; and Gutenberg! The Musical! and Monty Python's Spamalot each bringing in single nominations. It just goes to show a late April opening can’t trump good work earlier in the season!

Rachel McAdams and Susan Pourfar in Mary Jane Matthew Murphy

Three For Three at Manhattan Theatre Club

All three of this year's Broadway Manhattan Theatre Club outings—Jaja's African Hair BraidingPrayer for the French Republic, and Mary Jane—got Best Play nominations, an excellent showing for an already many times over Tony–winning theatre company. This isn't a frequent phenomenon, especially because the non-profit produces limited run theatre throughout the year. But suffice it to say, was a good year to be a Manhattan Theatre Club subscriber, and you can bet they will remind us all of that as they open up subscriptions for next season!

Winners will be named at the 77th Annual Tony Awards, set for June 16 at Lincoln Center’s David H. Koch Theater. The evening will kick off with The Tony Awards: Act One, streaming for free on Pluto TV. Details are to be announced. The 77th Annual Tony Awards will follow beginning at 8 PM ET, broadcasting live on CBS (check local listings) and streaming live (for premium-level subscribers) via Paramount+. All Paramount+ subscribers will have on demand access to the broadcast beginning June 17. Stage and screen star Ariana DeBose will be back for the third consecutive year to host.

Visit for more.

Meet The 2024 Nominees: Best Musical

Today’s Most Popular News:

Blocking belongs
on the stage,
not on websites.

Our website is made possible by
displaying online advertisements to our visitors.

Please consider supporting us by
whitelisting with your ad blocker.
Thank you!